The morning started at 5:00 a.m., with the students all walking to the barn before 6:00. It was a rough night sleeping for me as I finally managed to catch Annie’s cold and cough. It was inevitable as most of the kids here have been sick. Annie went with her show clothes under her work clothes to save time getting ready. She came directly back to the hotel for a quick breakfast of Nutella and bread (NOT the breakfast of champions, but we will work on her nutrition when we get home. Being a vegetarian in Germany has not been easy. The kid has basically lived off of potatoes, a little bit of salad, cold medicine and yes lots of Nutella.)
There was a lot of excitement and nervous energy in the air. Not sure if the kids were shivering from the cold or their nerves, but they all looked nice and polished in their show clothes and it was fun to see how everything pulled together for this final examination day.
The first portion of the testing was in-hand work. I didn’t sit in on any of this, so honestly I wasn’t quite sure what all they were doing, but basically they first walked a triangular pattern and then went through several different obstacles. Interestingly they were all taught to hold up their left arm to the horse’s eye whenever turning the horse to the right…basically looks like biking signals! There was a person in one of the corners shaking a noisy, plastic pom-pom thing at the horses as they walked by. Obviously I gathered that the judges are trying to gauge how the students handle the horses if and when they get frightened. Annie’s horse was a little fresh, but she managed just fine.
It was then time for dressage. Annie was in the last group to go, and due to sharing a horse with another student…she was the only student who did not get any warm-up time. Although the horse was warmed up, she was standing in the cold for several hours. I was able to watch the test from a 2nd story viewing window in the theory classroom. She looked even smaller than usual from my vantage point, and I was a little worried about the no-stirrup portion of the test, (the lead horse in her group had several bouts of bucking/bolting) but I’m very happy to say she rode extremely well and her horse stayed nice and calm following third behind the sometimes naughty leader.
After their test, the group walked up to the judging panel and they briefly discussed their rides. The judges then quizzed them on random questions from their theory studies. The remainder of their theory questions were asked inside the barn. They took a very quick lunch break and the rest of the group did jumping in the afternoon. When everyone was finished the group waited upstairs in the classroom for the results.
I’m very happy to report that Annie passed and has officially earned her Basispasse! (One of the judges took me aside and told me she rode a very lovely dressage test). This has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we cannot thank Nicole enough for inviting Annie to come here. She’s now the youngest student and youngest American to have ridden at the Deutsche Reitschule, Warendorf. Now it’s time to pack all of our smelly horse clothes and head home! Annie is very eager to ride little Gigi! We will be leaving for Wellington just after Christmas ~ Annie will be participating in Lendon Gray’s Winter Intensive Training program once again, and I must say that we both are VERY much looking forward to the sunshine and warm weather.
auf wiedersehen Deutschland!
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